Remains: Paul and Karen Bousfield. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Senior Sergeant Paul Bousfield was helping frantic residents at the counter of Springwood Police Station in the middle of the bushfire crisis when he received a text message from his wife Karen.
''I got a message from my wife, a text, saying that she was safe, my son was with her but our house had been lost.''
The news took time to sink in.
Close call: Fire licks the sign outside St Thomas Aquinas Primary School. Photo: Shane Desiatnik
''I actually didn't believe it that that was the case because with all the work I had been doing and all of the phone calls I hadn't heard Buena Vista [Road] was affected. That's how fast it was.'' The NSW Police Legacy chairman was one of seven police families who lost their homes during bushfires which ripped through the Blue Mountains towns of Springwood, Winmalee and Yellow Rock last Thursday.
Blue Mountains crime manager Mick Bostock said a detective who had been helping to evacuate residents had also lost his home. ''He said, 'Boss, my house is gone I won't be in tomorrow'," Detective Inspector Bostock said.
Despite learning there was nothing left of his Winmalee house, Senior Sergeant Bousfield worked for another several hours until 10.30 on Thursday night.
A friend picked him up and they drove slowly down one of the worst affected streets in the Blue Mountains - Buena Vista Road.
''It was pretty hectic. There was still a lot of fire,'' he said.
On Tuesday, the police officer of 24 years and his wife were sifting through ash, melted plastic, bed springs and twisted sheets of metal, trying to find their wedding and engagement rings.
There was one twisted and charred item that will be featuring in their new home - a Suzuki VL800 Volusia. ''The bike was a big thing. I wanted the bike out and hopefully we will put her up as a trophy in the new house,'' he said as he nudged his wife.
Mrs Bousfield is a librarian at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School and was one of the many teachers who helped evacuate 550 students to a set of Winmalee shops.
Her 19-year-old son Hayden found her walking along a street with the students.
"He just looked at me and said, 'It's gone. It's all gone.'"
Mrs Bousfield said he was upset he had not been able to save their Jack Russell, Reggie.
"He was more upset than anything that he couldn't get the dog out," she said.
Despite all the Bousfields have lost they said they "were blessed".
"There are so many families that need so much help and people need to lend as much support as they can to the families in the mountains," Senior Sergeant Bousfield said.
The family will rebuild in their bush paradise and said not one person on Buena Vista Road has talked about leaving.